Lynn Byczynski | MOTHER EARTH NEWS

By Staff
article image

Lynn Byczynski, Market Gardener and Flower Farming Expert

Name: Lynn Byczynski
City and State: Lawrence, Kan.

Occupation: Lynn is the founding editor and publisher of Growing for Market, a national periodical featuring how-to articles about growing and selling produce. She is also the author of The Flower Farmer: An Organic Grower’s Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers, Market Farming Success and The Hoophouse Handbook. She has grown cut flowers commercially for more than 20 years.

Background: Lynn and her husband, Dan Nagengast, started a small organic vegetable farm in 1988 and sold to restaurants, natural food stores and at farmers markets. They started the first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in Kansas a few years later, and quickly found that demand for their organic veggies exceeded their ability to produce. So they got together with other organic growers to start the nation’s first cooperative CSA, Rolling Prairie Farmers Alliance. As Dan focused on the vegetable side of the business, Lynn developed a cut flower program that met with tremendous success in local markets. Over the years, she has sold flowers at farmers markets, pick-your-own subscriptions, and to florists and supermarkets. Because there were very few people growing and selling flowers locally at that time, Lynn wrote The Flower Farmer to help others get started in the business. She says that she always holds her breath when she meets someone who says, “Your book made me quit my job and start growing flowers.” So far, that has never ended badly — people who grow flowers always seem to love it! 

In 1992, Lynn started Growing for Market (GFM), a monthly newsletter, to help growers across the United States share ideas and experiences. GFM has grown to be a highly respected periodical written entirely by market farmers and other practitioners. Published 10 times per year, it gives small farmers a feeling of support and encouragement for the work they have chosen. Lynn spends about 75 percent of her work life on GFM.

For the past few years, Lynn also has worked with Johnny’s Selected Seeds to develop educational resources and interactive tools for market farmers, including several helpful planning calculators that can be found on Johnny’s website. Long active in the land conservation movement, she has written about native prairies and other natural landscapes.

Personal History: Born and raised in an urban environment on the East Coast, Lynn migrated to the Midwest for college and never left. She worked for a decade as a newspaper reporter and, though she enjoyed the work tremendously, realized that her calling was in farming. She feels fortunate that she has been able to raise a family, grow food and flowers, and write about them from her small farm. 

Other Fun Facts: Lynn has served for more than a decade on the board of the Kansas Land Trust, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping landowners conserve their land. She enjoys cooking, walking, photography and travel. She is trying to learn Italian and to take decent videos.

Articles Lynn has written for MOTHER EARTH NEWS: Grow Flowers for Cash